This story is about a week old. Anyone know more about what's going on at West than what is here?
From the Post Star:
Look TV owner blames transmitter issue at West Mountain for temporary outage
GLENS FALLS -- Look TV, known locally as TV-8, went off the air for several hours Wednesday after National Grid cut power to the West Mountain Ski Center in Queensbury and to a transmitter on the mountain.
After a news item was posted on poststar.com about the outage, he called The Post-Star newsroom and said that broadcasts had been halted because power to the station’s transmitter atop West Mountain had been cut by National Grid.
He blamed the owner of West Mountain Ski Center, who he said did not pay the utility bills for the transmitter.
Jackson said efforts were under way to use a generator to power the transmitter that he hoped would restore power by late afternoon. Power was restored in time for the station’s daily news broadcast.
The ski center’s owner, Mike Barbone, said early Wednesday evening that the ski area was getting its electricity solely from generators, but he hoped to work out a payment arrangement with National Grid to restore power.
Barbone said National Grid cut electricity to the ski area because of lack of payment.
“Unfortunately, National Grid did not want to work with us. They wanted all or none. We’ll get it back on,” he said.
Barbone cited a “tough winter” for the ski area and said he wished area businesses would work together for the betterment of the region.
I reported on conditions at West a bunch of times last winter. A quick scan of those reports shows generally lackluster conditions. While some of that can be attributed to the poor winter, many skiers - myself included - sensed that less effort (and money) was being put into snowmaking and grooming, and conditions suffered. Some core terrain (for example the Midway trail that follows the triple chair liftline) never opened. The ski area opened quite late (couple days after Christmas) and closed quite early (3/17?). Then there was the RFID ticketing system which inexplicably went inoperable early in the season; the equipment itself disappeared a few weeks later. The official story is that the equipment didn't perform as advertised and support from the manufacturer was inadequate, but you can't help but wonder if there's more to it.
Last winter West heavily discounted their weekday tickets all season long. While that was a great deal for those who took advantage, I know that the discounts alienated some long-term West Mtn skiers who bought passes or advance "6-packs" only to find the prices severely undercut and the product cheapened. I suspect West may be having difficulty selling passes and 6-packs this summer. Who's going to commit to a $400-$500 pass (or a 6-pack of $25 tickets) when you can just show up on a weeknight and ski for ten bucks?
I've been a supporter of West for many years and I will continue to be a supporter and to ski there. I think local areas like West are extremely important both to the sport of skiiing and to the region. I've been skiing West Mountain for well over 20 years, and (other than this past year) they've done an excellent job delivering a quality product that entire time, particularly under Mike Barbone's ownership the past 5 or so years. I hope last winter is an anomaly and the ski area gets back on track. A nice, cold, snowy 2012-13 would certainly help, but I feel it will take more than just some help from Mother Nature.
One last thing. I don't like to talk about or spread rumors, but there were rumors circulating over the winter and spring concerning West Mountain's viability. That talk prompted Barbone to write this letter to the Saratogian, which was printed around 2 months ago.
Not that I have a crystal ball or any inside scoop, but I'd guess that West will continue in business and be fine. They had a tough winter and they are, apparently, having trouble paying their bills. However, I believe that the original owner, Mike Brant, still owns part of the biz or is holding a private mortgage. Based on his financial depth and passion for West, it's reasonable to expect that he won't let the biz go under. Closing an unprofitable summer operation just makes good sense. Perhaps when they have more liquid capital, they'll be ale to invest to enhance their off season attractions.